Board Design – Knowledge is Power

Many times in life I refer back to my old school motta of Knowledge is Power. This works well with surfboards but does the average surfer know what works when it comes to surfboards? What about the pro’s, do they know what they’re riding?

As a surfboard shaper I’m always interested in what surfers are riding but was really surprised that many WQS surfers don’t have a lot of input into their equipment.


Obviously it’s hard to step outside the square, many say that if Cheyne Horan rode thrusters then he would have been a world champion but he was never afraid to experiment.

A common answer to questions about boards tends to get an answer of, “I’m not sure, it’s what my shaper gave me”.

This could be a two part problem. The surfers don’t get the opportunity to get in the bay with their shaper or their own lack the knowledge to tell the shaper what they need.

Now i’m hardly shouting, “You know nothing Jon Snow”, but would more knowledge of board design help out everyone in the surf, even our WQS surfers?

Most WQS surfers may only get a few boards a year so it’s important to have something that works in most conditions.


It’s easy then to see why the majority of girls ride the square tail, they add stability and the corners of the square dig into the wave whilst turning and help increase the ability of the board to make pivotal turns.

But there are more options


The rounded sqare is the forgotten cousin of the square tail. Sure they are still on good terms but the rounded square can’t help be jealous. The rounded tail allows water to wrap around the contour of the tail and gives better traction in bigger, faster, hollower and more powerful waves. They tend to be looser, can draw out nice long turns but may not create sharper turns. I always feel they are very forgiving. They do add more surface area to the back of the board which can create more speed in slow spots on the wave.

Maybe the WQS surfers don’t need a rounded pin but the average female could use that extra tail volume and ease of turning, the shape of the rail and the shape of the tail do most of the work when it’s cutack time.


Channels are another great option. Your glasser and sander will disagree and after shaping a few I can see why. They take more time to make, more time to glass and are great fun to sand, said no one ever. Maybe channels are another story for another day.

The WQS tour is a battlefield and an all round board that works in all conditions is of great benefit.

Now is a great time to bug your shaper and try something different, you never know, you might be surprised.


You’ll find me in the shaping bay working on a rounded pin with belly channels.

The Rise and Rise of Macy Callaghan

Upon seeing Macy Callahgan surf for the first time in 2014, it was evident that this young lady was a star on the rise.


It was immediately apparent that Callaghan feared no one in the water and set about tactically dismantling her opposition bit by bit, and at this point it was easy to be in awe of her natural talent.

Macy comes from a good supportive family, something crucial for an athlete these days, specially in a sport which has consistent travel. To talk to this young woman you find her polite, respectful and well grounded.

Callaghan however does most of her talking in the water, although shouting is probably a more accurate statement.


The finish of the 2016 WQS Tour, saw her finish just outside the qualification mark for the elite WCT Tour but you can’t help to think this was a good thing.

Another year on the WQS Tour will allow her to refine the skills needed to compete at the elite level. Another year will see her body get stronger and her mental game will go to the next level.

The WCT Tour is a tough place, lose a heat or two and the mind games can easily begin.

2017 has seen Callaghan storming through the early WQS 1000 events with two wins and a second but it is the WQS 6000 events that she will need to make her mark.


A strong finish at the Anditi Womens Pro in Newcastle was followed by an early exit at the Australian Open of Surfing in Manly.

The early exit at Manly could easily be due to battled fatigue, after grinding out multiple events in a few months.

It’s time the world body of surfing, the WSL give Callaghan a wild card into WCT events. I’m not knocking the likes of Bethany Hamilton getting a wild card or two but it’s time for the WSL to invest in the future, the surfers who are ready and this is Macy to a tee.


I’m excited to continue following the Callaghan journey, a diamond that has been finely polished and is ready to shine.